Baccalaureate: A Prayerful Send-Off for Graduating Seniors

As the academic year draws to a close, Portsmouth Christian Academy (PCA) gears up to celebrate an extraordinary event that holds immense significance for its graduating seniors. Baccalaureate, held one week prior to Commencement, is a cherished tradition that brings together students, teachers, and families in a prayerful and heartfelt manner. This unique event provides an opportunity for faculty and staff members to individually pray for each senior, fostering a deep connection and offering a final moment of spiritual support before the graduates embark on their new journeys.

Having prayed for hundreds of seniors over the last 20+ years at PCA, Dean of Men, Stephen Foley, says Baccalaureate is his favorite event of the year.

“I’ve always told prospective parents that if I could take them to one PCA event, it would be Baccalaureate. Our graduations are awesome, but the Baccalaureate is really the only chance the faculty has to share a personal, private moment with the seniors and their families. Each faculty member chooses students for whom to pray, and the prayers often reveal a heartfelt, deep connection.  It is a unique event that is evidence of PCA’s mission.”

I’ve always told prospective parents that if I could take them to one PCA event, it would be Baccalaureate.

Dean of Men, Stephen Foley

Baccalaureate at Portsmouth Christian Academy is more than just a ceremonial event; it is a time of reflection and gratitude. It signifies the culmination of years of hard work and personal growth for the graduating seniors, as well as a chance to express appreciation for the dedicated teachers and families who have supported them throughout their academic journey.

Mrs. Graustein shares a copy of her prayer with her chosen senior.
Mr. Foley says a prayer over his chosen senior in the Class of 2022.

At the heart of Baccalaureate lies the touching tradition of faculty and staff members saying an individual prayer for each senior. This unique gesture not only demonstrates the deep care and concern the PCA community has for its students, but also allows each senior to feel the strength of their teachers’ support and encouragement.

Students are arranged alphabetically, taking their seats at the front of the Gymnasium. Standing behind each senior is a faculty or staff member who has hand-selected their senior to pray for. By dedicating a personal prayer to every graduate, faculty and staff members ensure that each student’s hopes, dreams, and God-given talents are specifically acknowledged and uplifted.

Baccalaureate provides a sacred space for students, teachers, and families to come together and connect in prayer. It fosters a sense of unity and togetherness as the entire community gathers to honor and bless the graduating class. Through the power of collective prayer, attendees are reminded of the shared values and beliefs that have guided the students throughout their time at PCA.

Baccalaureate leaves a lasting impression on both the graduating seniors and those who surround them. For the students, it offers a profound sense of comfort and reassurance, knowing that their mentors and loved ones are fervently praying for their future endeavors. This event becomes a cherished memory that carries them forward, providing them with strength and resilience as they step into the next chapter of their lives.

PCA faculty members gathered behind their seniors.
A student and staff member share a hug following their Baccalaureate prayer.

For the teachers and staff, Baccalaureate serves as a bittersweet moment of saying goodbye to the students they have nurtured and guided. It symbolizes the culmination of their collective efforts, and the individual prayers they offer allow them to express their hopes and blessings for each graduate.

Portsmouth Christian Academy’s Baccalaureate is not just a ceremony, but a powerful testament to the love, care, and spiritual connection that exist within its community. By saying an individual prayer for every senior, the faculty and staff members create a sacred bond that supports the graduates in their future endeavors. This event serves as a heartfelt reminder of the shared values and faith that underpin the PCA experience, leaving a lasting impression on the students, teachers, and families who partner together in maximizing the God-given potential in every graduate.